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A new moon and smoggy days

Be on the lookout for migrant birds and coastal scrub

The Smoggiest Days of the year are most likely to occur during the next several weeks. Persistent temperature inversions (warmer air overlying cool marine air) are frequent this time of year. These inversions conspire with the mountainous topography of East County to trap locally generated air pollution under a low-lying lid. During the worst episodes, San Diego County’s coastal area is the hapless recipient of additional smog sneaking down from the Los Angeles Basin. This often occurs when a Santa Ana wind condition begins to weaken: L.A. smog blown offshore by a Santa Ana may get pushed back our way when the normal sea breeze returns.

Fall Migrant Birds such as wood warblers can be seen at Cabrillo National Monument and its vicinity on Point Loma, Torrey Pines State Reserve, and other parks and open spaces near the San Diego coast. Cooper’s or marsh hawks and even peregrine falcons may be seen following or pursuing these smaller birds.

San Diego’s Coastal Sage-Scrub Vegetation is now at the very nadir of its growth cycle. Shades of gray and yellow have replaced the bright greens that carpeted many of the still-wild coastal hillsides up until April or May of this year. Sometime within the next several weeks, the first substantial autumn rain will shatter the usual summer drought, and our “summer-deciduous” vegetation could bounce back in a matter of days.

The New Moon Enjoy a dark, moonless night on Friday, September 30 — perfect for skywatching, weather permitting. Telescope owners and naked eye observers alike may catch glimpses of the planets Mars and Saturn near the southwest horizon. Telescopic observers will see the bright red-orange hues of Mars and, depending on the magnifying power of the scope, will be able to spot Saturn's distinct rings. Be sure to catch these planets while they're still high in the sky; best views are offered while highest from the horizon, at around 7-8pm on September 30.

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Golden State dreams

“Leaving California would be a failure for me. I got the degree so I could stay here.”

The Smoggiest Days of the year are most likely to occur during the next several weeks. Persistent temperature inversions (warmer air overlying cool marine air) are frequent this time of year. These inversions conspire with the mountainous topography of East County to trap locally generated air pollution under a low-lying lid. During the worst episodes, San Diego County’s coastal area is the hapless recipient of additional smog sneaking down from the Los Angeles Basin. This often occurs when a Santa Ana wind condition begins to weaken: L.A. smog blown offshore by a Santa Ana may get pushed back our way when the normal sea breeze returns.

Fall Migrant Birds such as wood warblers can be seen at Cabrillo National Monument and its vicinity on Point Loma, Torrey Pines State Reserve, and other parks and open spaces near the San Diego coast. Cooper’s or marsh hawks and even peregrine falcons may be seen following or pursuing these smaller birds.

San Diego’s Coastal Sage-Scrub Vegetation is now at the very nadir of its growth cycle. Shades of gray and yellow have replaced the bright greens that carpeted many of the still-wild coastal hillsides up until April or May of this year. Sometime within the next several weeks, the first substantial autumn rain will shatter the usual summer drought, and our “summer-deciduous” vegetation could bounce back in a matter of days.

The New Moon Enjoy a dark, moonless night on Friday, September 30 — perfect for skywatching, weather permitting. Telescope owners and naked eye observers alike may catch glimpses of the planets Mars and Saturn near the southwest horizon. Telescopic observers will see the bright red-orange hues of Mars and, depending on the magnifying power of the scope, will be able to spot Saturn's distinct rings. Be sure to catch these planets while they're still high in the sky; best views are offered while highest from the horizon, at around 7-8pm on September 30.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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